Understanding the Difference Between Underactive and Overactive Thyroid

Nearly 25 million of Americans are having thyroid problems. The most common thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).


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Several surveys have revealed that nearly 25 million of Americans are suffering from thyroid problems. Interestingly, half of them are unaware of this health condition.

Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the center of your neck, which is responsible for balancing the metabolic processes in your body through the hormones production. If there is any imbalance in the hormone production, it directly affects the whole body function. The thyroid disorders occur in two conditions, when thyroid makes excessive hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not produce enough hormones (hypothyroidism). It clearly means both type of conditions indicates towards the imbalance in hormones production.

So, you must understand the difference between both types of thyroid, Underactive and Overactive known as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism respectively.

Signs of Underactive Thyroid:

  • Rapid Weight Gain

Weight gain is one of the major signs of underactive thyroid which happens due to the low thyroid hormone level keeping metabolic rate lower. Therefore, these symptoms cause unexplained weight gain.

  • Feeling Tiredness

You feel extreme fatigue in this condition because the low thyroid hormone level affects the cells function. As a result, you feel less energy leading to the tiredness.

Constipation and Indigestion Problems:

Low level of thyroid hormones can affect the muscles relating to the digestive tract, thereby creating constipation and indigestion problems.

Dry and Flaky Skin

Your skin is dried and flaky due to the reduction in sweating by the low levels of thyroid hormones.

Constant Muscle Soreness and Pain

The increasing inflammation in the body is led to the muscle soreness and joint pain.

  • Hair loss: Ideal level of thyroid hormones is important for the hair follicles. It simply means lack of ideal level of thyroid hormone cause hair loss.

Memory and Concentration Problems:

Inadequate level of thyroid hormones can affect the activity of neurotransmitters, making you prone to the memory and concentration problems.

  • Increased Cholesterol: Improper thyroid hormones level can cause the high cholesterol in the body as your body ability to break down the cholesterol is suffered.

Signs of Overactive Thyroid:

  1. Sudden Weight Loss:

Overactive thyroid increases the metabolic rate of the body, thereby the burning of the calories happens at the faster rate. As a result, you have an unexplained weight loss.

  1. Being Sensitive to Heat:

The overproduction of the thyroid hormones activates the sweat glands, making you prone to excessive sweating. Heat is intolerable for your body.

  1. Feeling Tired:

With the increased metabolism, your energy levels remain up. However, in the long run, the breaking down of the body make you feel tired.

  1. Bulging Eyes:

Overactive thyroid also comes with the bulging eyes, a state in which your upper eyelids are elevated.

  1. Feeling Nervous:

The increasing thyroid hormones accelerate the heart rate dramatically; increasing your blood pressure, which in turns lead to anxiety and nervousness.

  1. Affecting the Timing of Menstruation:

Overproduction of thyroid hormones can delay the puberty and mensuration phase in females.

  1. Brittle hair

Whereas underactive thyroid can lead to the hair fall, overactive thyroid may bring changes in the hair texture including thinning and drying of hair

How Both Types of Thyroid Are Treated?

Underactive or hypothyroidism is treated with the medications to balance the hormone levels. Well, there are several home remedies for thyroid like fish oil, ginger, and vitamin D rich foods. 

On the other hand, a physician treats overactive thyroid with radioactive iodine which is taken orally. If initial treatment fails, a physician can go for the surgery to remove the thyroid glands.

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